Book Fairs | September 13, 2021

Firsts, London’s Rare Book Fair Planned for October 21-24 at Saatchi Gallery

Credit: Iona Wolff

London — This year will see Firsts, London’s Rare Book Fair – the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association (ABA)’s annual flagship event – move to its spectacular new home at Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea, London, a fitting return for the UK’s most prestigious rare book fair.

Firsts London, which will take place from 21st-24th October 2021, expects to call the contemporary exhibition space home for the foreseeable future, part of an ongoing move by the ABA to invest long-term in the fair’s success and growth.  

In line with previous editions, Firsts London 2021 will see leading international dealers present iconic rare books, manuscripts and works on paper from the ancient world through to the 21st century. Saatchi Gallery’s world-class gallery space will provide an outstanding location in London to showcase selections from some of the world’s finest book sellers.

This year, additional measures are being put in place to ensure Firsts London maintains a Covid-19 safe environment where visitors and exhibitors can enjoy the best the fair has to offer. The venue has recently installed a state-of-the-art ventilation system, and the fair will also put in place a one-way entry and exit system, in addition to several hand-sanitizing stations throughout the gallery spaces.

“This October Firsts London will offer booksellers and visitors a well-deserved and much anticipated opportunity to reconnect, meet and trade in Saatchi Gallery’s inspiring setting, which I am sure will be particularly appreciated by dealers and rare book enthusiasts alike following an eighteen-month period of only being able to attend online fairs and events,” says ABA President and Fair Chairman Pom Harrington.

“While the success of the online fairs proved the format has a permanent place in the antiquarian book selling landscape, there is nothing that compares to the atmosphere and sense of discovery that a real-life fair provides. This year’s fair artwork, created by children’s’ book illustrator Korky Paul, captures the spirit of this sentiment with his signature colourful characters meeting at our fair’s iconic new venue. We are looking forward to meeting old friends and welcoming new one’s at the fair’s new home,” added Pom.

Elected by the ABA under the auspices of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (, Firsts London exhibitors are known for the unrivalled quality of works they present at the fair and are all recognised as experts in their respective fields. Visitors to the fair can expect to find dealers from Europe such as Antiquariat Inlibris Gilhofer Nfg. GmbH (Austria), Librairie Clavreuil (France), Charlotte Du Reitz (Sweden), and Antiquariat Michael Banzhaf (Germany); the United States including Tamino Autographs, Bauman Rare Books, and Imperial Fine Books (all New York), as well as many well-loved names from across the United Kingdom such as Blackwell’s Rare Books, Justin Croft Antiquarian Books, and Daniel Crouch Rare Books. A rich array of specialisms will be on display at exhibitors’ stands, including firsts editions, rare photographs, early and antique maps, globes, hand-signed letters, and rare prints.

Visitors can look forward to browsing stands spanning three floors of gallery space, with catering by Canapé Box and drinks available at various locations throughout the venue. For the first time in several years, the fair will host a champagne reception on the evening of Thursday 21st October, to coincide with the preview night. Invites for the preview night will be on an invitation-basis or £50 per person at the door.